On November 16 the Senate Armed Services Committee unanimously approved a controversial provision of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012 that sets forth procedures for processing and prosecuting individuals imprisoned on suspicion of being members of al-Qaeda. By a vote of 26-0, the committee granted power to the U.S. Armed Forces to exercise complete control over all custodial matters related to the treatment of those detained for suspected belligerent behavior in the War on Terror.
Another aspect of the clause in question makes Attorney General Eric Holder the final arbiter of whether suspects are tried in federal district courts or before military tribunals.
Rancorous debate over the various provisions contained in the bill have raged for months, but all argument was finally quelled by an accord reached by committee Chairman Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.)Levin and ranking GOP committee member John McCain (R-Ariz.).
Despite the bipartisan support for the measure, President Obama has promised to veto the bill over his disagreement with the delegation of power over the cases of detainees.
The White House has repeatedly affirmed its desire that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) should have plenary power over the disposition of issues related to the custody and prosecution of all terror suspects detained domestically.
Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum said they'd wage war against Iran if it didn't prove it had given up any hope of obtaining nuclear weapons, while Rep. Ron Paul deferred, saying he'd follow Christian just war principles. The comments were made at a November 19 forum in Des Moines, Iowa.
"Nothing takes life more than the declaration of war," moderator and pollster Frank Luntz asked the six GOP presidential candidates who participated in the "Thanksgiving Family Forum," sponsored by a division of Focus on the Family. "Can you define the moral justification for war?"
Texas Congressman Ron Paul answered first, explaining: "Early on, the Church struggled with this and St. Augustine came up with the principles of the just war. I believe in them. I think we should follow them from a religious viewpoint. But we have a Constitution that is very clear to guide us to try to prevent these wars. And that is that we don't go to war without a declaration." Traditional Christian just war principles stress that wars must be declared by the lawful authority; under the U.S. Constitution wars require the declaration of war by Congress. But Paul noted that recent U.S. wars have not been declared by Congress. "It was tragic because we did it by failing the rule of law," Paul added.
After decades of helping to place children in foster homes, Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, announced on November 14 that it would be transferring all of its current cases to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Across the state, Catholic Charities and the Evangelical Child and Family Agency in Wheaton found that they would no longer be able to continue playing a role in placing children in foster care because the state government was going to require them to place children in the homes of same-sex couples — a practice that both Roman Catholics and Evangelicals believe to be contrary to their faith.
Nashville-based mixed martial artist Ed Clay underwent waterboarding after last week's GOP presidential debate where Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain announced they favored waterboarding terror suspects. He emerged a critic of waterboarding and said that if the the pro-family values Bachmann agreed to be waterboarded "I bet you would get Bachmann to admit that she supports gay marriage." Bachmann told the press November 16 that submitting to waterboarding would be "absurd."
"Until I'd been waterboarded," Clay said in a YouTube video where he underwent the procedure. "I really didn't have an opinion whether it was torture or not. So I wanted to find out for myself." He emerged with a clear verdict: It is torture.
Waterboarding is the forcing of water down the nose and throat of prone prisoners involving the pouring of water, usually with a wet cloth over the nose or mouth of the immobile prisoner. The procedure is generally described as creating the sensation of drowning, but it is more than that since water seeps into the breathing passages and lungs. The gag reflex is induced immediately.
GOP presidential contender Herman Cain told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an interview that he had requested that Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State, serve once again as Secretary of State in a hypothetical Cain administration. Though Kissinger apparently rejected Cain’s offer, the maneuver raises a number of questions regarding Cain’s conservatism.
“Dr. Kissinger turned down my offer to be secretary of state,” Cain told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in an interview. “He said he’s perfectly happy doing what he’s doing.”
Once the Cain camp realized that the voters were not happy with the notion of requesting Kissinger’s services, Cain’s campaign spokesman J.D. Gordon said that Cain had not actually asked Kissinger to be his Secretary of State, and chalked the entire incident up to Cain being sleep deprived during his interview with the Milwaukee newspaper.
Likewise, Cain attempted to avoid questions in Iowa on Tuesday when he was asked about Kissinger, “until he was told that his campaign had said he was joking about the offer of the plum cabinet job to the former secretary of state,” reports the Washington Post.
However, when watching a video clip of the interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, there is no indication that Cain was making a joke when he referred to Henry Kissinger.
From the time the GOP presidential primary contest got under way, Mitt Romney has been heralded in the media as the frontrunner. Since its crushing losses in ’06 and ’08 and the ensuing rise of both Barack H. Obama as well as the Tea Party movement, the Republican Party has claimed to have learned the error of its ways. It alone is the party of “limited” or “constitutional government,” the party of liberty. Yet during its reign of power under the tenor of George W. Bush, it not only abjectly failed to reduce the size and scope of the federal government; it significantly expanded Washington D.C.’s control over our lives. Now, the GOP promises us, it will “return to its roots.”
From the time the GOP presidential primary contest got under way, the media has treated Mitt Romney’s nomination as virtually inevitable. How, though, does the idea of an allegedly repentant Republican Party renewing its commitment to individual liberty square with the idea of Mitt Romney as this party’s presidential nominee?
To put this question another way, is Romney a credible standard bearer of the party of “limited government?”
To answer this question, we need to look not so much as what Romney says now, during a Republican primary race. We need, rather, to look at what he has said and done throughout his career.
When considering what is the “establishment” in America, college students are never told that this group includes powerful labor unions, the news media, or state-supported academia. Hence, why the “Occupy D.C.” encampment, an offspring of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, and other "Occupy" movements are leaning heavily upon big labor to support their protests despite the fact that big unions, in a fashion similar to big finance, buy off politicians in return for government action that is not in the interest of the public at large, but only to the benefit of unions — such as the National Labor Relations Board's attacks on Boeing at the behest of unions for opening a plant in a right-to-work state.
On November 15, demonstrators from Occupy D.C. were removed from the Victor Building in Washington, but the Washington Times reports that big labor unions have provided accommodations to that group.
The Service Employees International Union has given Occupy D.C. portable toilets. The AFL-CIO headquarters has a gym with showers, and as Jeff Hauser of that union says: “We happen to have a few showers associated with our small gym…. We make those available. It happened kind of naturally. We’ve talked with them about the needs they’ve expressed. This really helps them and it’s not a heavy lift on our part. “The rise of inequality, the job crisis — we’re thankful their creative energy and persistence has helped elevate these critical issues. We want to be supportive.”
The state legislature of Massachusetts passed a measure on November 15 to extend discrimination protection for transgender people in matters related to housing, credit, and employment. Further, the bill will include such individuals in the definition of a “hate crime.”
After a nearly party line vote of 115-37 (the Democratic party is currently in the majority in the Massachusetts House by a split of 127 to 33 Republicans), the legislation, known as the Transgender Equal Rights Bill, was passed by the House and sent on to the state senate. Upon being passed by the upper house, the bill was sent to the state’s Democratic Governor, Deval Patrick, and he signed the measure making it state law.
Said the Governor: "I think we have hate crimes on the books today," he said. "They, in the case of transgender people, don't go far enough.” He continued, calling the matter a “question of human and civil rights."
According to the provisions set forth in the act, no person may be discriminated against on the basis of gender identity. The protection does not extend to the area of public accommodations.
The ACLU’s Nebraska franchise is demanding that a school district in that state put a stop to prayer at its high school graduation, even though the ceremony is sponsored and run privately by parents. Ten years ago the ACLU targeted Lakeview High School in Columbus, Nebraska, for its graduation prayer, arguing that the practice violates the U.S. Constitution’s supposed separation of church and state. To appease the secular watchdog group, the school district spun off the graduation ceremony to parents, making the ceremony a private event at which they believed prayers would be beyond the ACLU’s self-commissioned purview.
But the ACLU called the move a sham, reported the Associated Press, and sent a letter of protest to the district charging that the private ceremony carries the implied endorsement of the district, and that the prayers are still illegal.
“The current ceremony coercively subjects students to religious messages as the price of attending high school commencement,” said ACLU spokesperson Amy Miller. “This leaves some students and their families feeling like second-class participants at their own graduation.”
An Iowa baker who declined to bake a wedding cake ordered by two women after she discovered it was meant for their lesbian “wedding” is being boycotted by homosexual activists, and may face legal action for discrimination. As reported by FOX News, “Victoria Childress, the owner of Victoria’s Cake Cottage in Des Moines, has been accused of being anti-gay, homophobic, and a bigot after she refused to make a cake for Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers.” Childress said that she baked five sample cakes for the couple to try before discovering that they were homosexual partners. “She introduced herself, and I said, ‘Is this your sister?’” Childress recalled of an encounter with one of the women. “She said, ‘No. This is my partner.’ ”
When Childress realized that the cake was meant for a same-sex “wedding” celebration, she graciously told the women she would not be able to serve them, citing her Christian faith. “I was straight-forward with them and explained that I’m a Christian and that I have very strong convictions,” she told FOX. “I chose to be honest about it. They said they appreciated it and left. That was all that was said.”
However, instead of dropping the matter, the two women apparently alerted their homosexual activist network, which quickly organized a boycott of Childress’ business. The conflict also attracted the attention of Des Moines television station KCCI, which gave Trina Vodraska a platform to voice her anger at being snubbed by Childress. “It was degrading,” she told the television station. “It was like she chastised us for wanting to do business with her. I know Jesus loves me. I didn’t need her to tell me that. I didn’t go there for that. I just wanted to go there for a cake.”